The Department of Transport was considered, focusing on the capital spending for years 2007/08, 2009/10, 2011/12. An in-depth report focusing on expenditure of the Gautrain project was presented to the Committee. Special emphasis was given to the inefficiencies of DoRA (Division of Revenue Act) as it related to late draw-downs by municipalities. The Committee was informed that the bus rapid transport model was the model largely adapted by most cities hosting 2010 World Cup events. The Committee was concerned around the issue of late draw-down by municipalities and the negative effect on other sectors of service delivery. Flexibility of DoRA was also of primary concern, and some Members were worried about municipalities being allowed to adapt their own models. Late withdrawals would be addressed as a matter of urgency and could possibly be rectified with legislation. The need for different models from the different cities regarding transport was outlined.
The Department of Health briefed the Committee on the Division of Revenue Bill 2008, focusing on allocation to different projects and sectors in financial years 2007/08, 2009/10. Special emphasis was given to the taking over of mortuaries from the Police as well as section 25(2) of DoRA. Members voiced concern on training of new Health Professionals, despite the healthy grant given to the department. The issue of backlogs in service delivery in the
The Department of Education placed special emphasis being placed on key objectives in terms of analysis, evaluation & assessment. Members were presented with an outset of the MTEF allocations per province highlighting the funding priorities. Members raised issues on no-fee schools, under spending in the
Division of Revenue Hearings:
Department of Transport (DOT) Briefing
Ms Mpumi Mpofu, Director General: Department of Transport, delivered the comprehensive presentation focusing on areas of concern as highlighted by the Minister of Finance in his Annual Budget Speech. Focus was placed on the major Capital Budget while the other smaller issues in the presentation would serve to be more informative in nature.
A breakdown in the capital spending for years 2007/08, 2009/10, 2011/12 was presented to the Committee. There would be major increases in expenditure in the rail and roads sector while the Public Transport System (PTS) was given marginal, inflationary increases. Spending on the Gautrain project would decrease substantially in time as the project was of a short term nature. Ms Mpofu made special mention that the last leg of the Gautrain project between Midrand and Tswane would only be completed post 2010 as there had been several issues regarding the expropriation of land on that route of the project. She explained that in order for the Gautrain to be an effective mass-mover several lines had to be revised to be connected to the Metro Rail and Bus services, which in turn had a budgetary impact. An integrated ticket system would be implemented so as to ensure that commuters would only have to buy one ticket when travelling to multiple destinations. Ms Mpofu said that difficult issues such as land expropriation, utilities and design had caused the project to fall behind schedule by four months but that the project would soon be on schedule again.
Ms Mpofu highlighted that the DoRA (Division of Revenue Act) system presented inefficiencies in regards to municipalities claiming payments. Municipalities should, as good practice, request payments as agreed, but this has not always transpired. She explained that the municipalities often requested payment only at the end of their financial years, creating huge singular payout amounts. The reason for this was generic inefficiency in DoRA, which should allow for penalties in situations where there was a delay in the claiming of funds.
Bus rapid transport was seen and accepted by most cities as an efficient mode of mass transport and had been accepted as a integral part of their models for transport for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Ms Mpofu said that the different cities’ models of transport differed only slightly from each other. With reference to expenditure in non host cities, she noted that this had to be allocated for small project such as off- ramps. Despite progress being slower in certain host cities none of these presented a particular crisis. She concluded by saying that FIFA required certain guarantees, such as set out waiting times, for which experts had to be deployed to assist the Department.
The Chairperson expressed his concern on the issue of late draw-downs by municipalities and commented that this was something that needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Mr D Botha (ANC,
Mr E Sogoni (ANC,
The Chairperson commented that certain problems were inhibiting progress and needed to be addressed. He questioned why cities were allowed to choose their own models without consulting the Department.
Ms Mpofu answered that the Department’s transport strategy gave a framework for host cities but that variance was inevitable and necessary. Using
Mr Kenneth Brown, Director: Provincial Budget Analysis, National Treasury (NT), commented that in cases where creditors were not paid in time municipalities were not doing their jobs in terms of pay-outs. He posed the question as to whether the situation might be rectified by means of legislation. The current inefficiencies were a direct result of a lack of capacity within the municipalities. He also focused attention to the fact that municipalities were often not aware of the fact that money was paid out to them. Municipalities were often not forthcoming with simple things like cash flow projections. He explained that quarterly reports from auditing firms regarding municipalities were questionable as to whether they served the purpose that they were supposed to. Despite there being some flexibility within DoRA it certainly needed close revision.
The Chairperson stated the Gautrain project should be treated as a special project in all deliberations. He highlighted that roads were a serious problem in the
Mr Botha expressed his concern that the ATB in
Mr Sogoni stated that the under spending by the
Ms Mpofu commented that the rationalisation of transport funds was a very complex issue seeing that there were many bodies within both national and provincial government involved. Funding streams were in effect very diverse and presented the Department with a great challenge.
Department of Health (DOH) Briefing
Mr Gerrit Muller, CFO, Department of Health, gave account of the National Tertiary Services Grant, the Health Professions Training and Development programme, Hospital Revitalization Programme, Comprehensive HIV & AIDS conditional Grant and the Forensic Pathology Service Grant as allocated for the periods 2007/08 and 2009/10, proportionately per province. He explained that all Forensic Pathology Laboratories were now under the management of the DOH and had been taken over from SA Police Services (SAPS) Many new mortuaries had been built and were to be taken into use very soon, hence the reduction in grants. The Department would help in providing the necessary sensitivity around this issue.
Mr Muller complained that according to Section 25(2) of DoRA the Department was rendered “toothless” and expressed his concerns around the Health Professions Training and Development Grants.
Mr Sogoni, referring to section 9(b)(2) of DoRA, asked what the implications of this would be on both Transport and Health sectors, and what mechanisms were in place to allow for flexibility without allocations being under spent.
Mr E Manyosi (ANC Eastern Cape) commented that despite allocations for the training of new Health Professionals the situation on the ground was looking dismal: clinics were over-used, and there were too few nurses to provide adequate care. He also expressed concern as to the age limit being imposed on home-based care.
Mr Botha said that in the
Mr Muller said that in regards to
Mr Sogoni commented that, with reference to section 14(3)(a)(2) of DoRA, that the National Department should assist the provinces in terms of expanding capacity and that it had been done successfully in some other departments.
The Chairperson stated that the Department of Public Works (DPW) had no reason to say that it had insufficient capacity as this was catered for. He said that the Committee would be visiting
Mr Muller explained that Section 14 (3)(a)(2) dealt with the Infrastructure Grant. Some places, such as Coega in the
Mr B Mkhaliphi (ANC,
Mr Sogoni said that Municipalities were experiencing problems in regards to the Health budget and expressed concern that if this were to be mixed with other bodies it might become too complex for them to handle.
The Chairperson said that the Department of Health’s fourth quarter would be monitored very carefully, to establish how the provinces were performing. He agreed with Dr Muller that grants should not be withheld but should be monitored and the provinces assisted in terms of efficiency. Baselines in
Department of Education (DOE) Briefing
Mr Philip Benadé, CFO, Department of Education, said that his Department had prepared a little more than was requested by the Committee, including a general overview of the finances of the Department of Education as well as the allocations on the conditional grants. He explained that the Department had serious consultation with the Treasury requesting additional funding for certain conditional grants.
He highlighted the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) key objectives in terms of analysis, evaluation & assessment. The total sector bid amounted to R17.8 billion. He also gave account on expenditure on school infrastructure, National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP), expansion of inclusive education, expansion of grades, Early Childhood Development (ECD) and personnel and text books.
An outline of the MTEF allocations per province was given highlighting the funding priorities. Mr Benadé further reported on the Conditional Grants per province, and the monitoring of Conditional Grants. He presented on the outcomes at 31 December 2007, planned outcomes over the 2008 MTEF, implementation of Minimum Norms for the National School Nutrition Program, planned outputs over the 2008 MTEF, and DoRA: Infrastructure (see attached presentation for detail)
The Chairperson expressed his appreciation, saying that the Committee was very optimistic about the Department of Education.
Mr Sogoni commended the Department of Education for implementing many of the recommendations made by Treasury.
Mr B Tolo (ANC Mpumalanga) raised the issue of no-fee Schools, asking how allocations to specific schools were decided upon and the criteria used. He also raised concern about under spending on personnel by the
Mr Botha wanted to know what the developments were around the issue of weekend schools.
Mr Brown commended the department on its efforts, but expressed his concern as to the infrastructure program in schools. Capacity seemed to be an issue as despite discussions money was not being allocated appropriately. Money given to provinces for backlogs was not being allocated either. He noted that the Infrastructure budget was very low and that the Budget Council was trying to address this issue. In total an amount of R2.7 billion had been allocated to infrastructure grants to provinces. Only two provinces, Kwazulu Natal (KZN) and
The Chairperson requested that the information be given to his office so he could investigate where the money was in reality being allocated. If it was being allocated elsewhere, this must immediately be stopped.
Mr Benadé assured the Committee that the Department had allocated R7.2 billion over the 2008 period to infrastructure.
The Chairperson commented that the issue of infrastructure was critical and needed to be addressed as soon as possible.
The meeting was adjourned.
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